Anim8tor (anim80r.com) is a small free modelling and animation program (less than 2 MB!), with surprisingly good functionality, although far less than programs such as MAX and Blender. All you need do is run it from the desktop - there is no need for installation, or the installation of other modules as with Blender (that needs the Microsoft C++ runtime and Python). The current version number is 0.95, so clearly this software is still under development.
It is certainly very suitable for beginners, or those with not quite so demanding requireČments for their models and animation. It would, for example, be very suitable for titles and simple animations for non-broadcast video productions, or for inclusion with busiČness presentations. Documentation is provided on the Web site, and is also available for download. The downloadable manual is available in several languages other than English (Czech, Italian, Chinese, French, Portugese and Spanish) but it seems that only the English version matches the current progress in the software.
There are also several tutorials on the Web site, some of which contain downloadable versions of the simple models that they describe. The site suggests a particular one (modelling an eggplant) as a good basis for learning the basics of modelling with a mesh, and it lives up to the claim quite well. A very good place to start. Currently, there is no support for NURBS or other more sophisticated surface modelČling techniques - this is strictly mesh-based modelling, but with the basic primitives such as spheres, cubes and so on.
According to the author, the most work needs to be done on the renderer, but the most important features are present for creating materials: ambient, diffuse and specular texture mapping, plus also emissive (when the surface itself radiates light), transparency and bumps. Considering that the software also supports some level of ray tracing, it is surprisČing that so much can be packed into 2 MB. For compatibility with other software, Anim8tor can import the older 3ds formats from Autodesk 3D Studio, and also files from Lightwave and Wavefront. It can also export to 3D Studio and Wavefront formats.
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